U-S Constitution

Article V Debate: Battle Of Conservative Heavyweights!

If you love constitutional legal scholarship, you will not want to miss this: This Thursday, at 7:00 p.m., at the Colgan Theater on the Manassas campus of Northern Virginia Community College, conservative constitutionalists Delegate Bob Marshall and Patrick Henry College President Mike Farris will debate Article V of the U.S. Constitution. If that's not enough, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will moderate the debate. Article V of the U.S. Constitution prescribes two methods for amending the constitution. Only one has ever been used — a proposed amendment passed by Congress and ratified by the states, and that hasn't been used in decades. Some believe that with the gridlock in Congress and the increasingly polarized political and ideological strains of the country, that proposed amendments will never escape Congress, even for the most necessary reforms, such as a requirement for a balanced federal budget.

The other method allows for the states to convene a convention to adopt an amendment . . . or amendments. That's where the controversy begins and only accelerates. There may be nothing more divisive among conservatives than this question because some believe, like Delegate Marshall, that if a convention is convened, those delegates, once locked into a room, could not only vote to adopt a specific amendment, but also add and delete to the constitution as they please. Mr. Farris and others believe that it is constitutionally legal to bind the delegates to one specific topic, and that the solvency of the United States (and perhaps another issue or two) demands this approach.

Delegate Marshall describes the event this way:

Mike Farris and I will debate whether or not we should hold a national convention (with delegates from every state), under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, to propose amendments that will make changes to our United States Constitution.

Both of us have researched this issue in depth and have reached opposite conclusions. I will argue that states should not petition Congress to call such a Convention for the purpose of amending (changing) the Constitution. Mike Farris will argue that we should.

Marshall-Farris

Battle of conservative heavyweights: Marshall vs. Farris with referee Cuccinelli!

For the last several years, resolutions have been proposed in the General Assembly for Virginia to add its name to the list of states that have called for an Article V convention. Other than the exhilaration of the intellectual exercise and ramped up lobbying efforts of both sides, they have made no splash, much less passed. But one can never predict the event that will spark a turning point in a movement.

With these two profound and intellectual men debating, and the former attorney general moderating, this will be an enlightening event, and a welcome one given the shrillness of so many issues in our modern political and philosophical discourse. The event, which include questions from the audience, is sponsored by the Manassas Tea Party, is open to the public. "Free will donations" will be accepted to cover the  costs. Colgan Theater is located at 6901 Sudley Road in Manassas.

Does Religious Freedom Matter Anymore?

On this date in 1786, the Virginia General Assembly enacted one of the most important initiatives in our nation's history — the Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom. Today, Governor Bob McDonnell issued a proclamation celebrating the Statute and Senator Bill Stanley (R-20, Moneta) and Delegate Chris Peace (R-97, Hanover) gave speeches in their respective chambers to bring attention to this day. This amendment to our state constitution was the foundation for our First Freedom as defined in the U.S. Constitution a few years later. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson — it is one of the three accomplishments for which he wanted to be remembered and engraved on his tombstone; the others being author of the Declaration of Independence and founder of the University of Virginia — the Statute recognizes that our right to exercise our faith

. . . can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience.

It adds:

No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

As attacks on the religious liberty of Americans continue to grow, it is important to remember the real meaning of the term and take the opportunity to educate our friends and neighbors who may be buying into some of the secular left’s notion of "separation of church and state." For example, we often call our First Freedom a "constitutional right to religious freedom," but the reality is that this freedom comes from God and is simply to be protected by the constitution; it doesn't come from our constitution.

It is important to note that we have the freedom to be involved in "civil capacities" and express our "opinions in matters of religion" in these capacities. This is particularly important to remember as the radical secular left in Virginia has attacked us for our support of pro-life and pro-family legislation as a violation of "separation," something that flies in the face not just of the Statute but over 230 years of American history. This is not only our right, it's our duty.

This year, we are supporting initiatives that we hope will restore the real meaning of Jefferson's Statute. One, an amendment to the state constitution by Senator Stanley — working with Senator Bill Carrico (R-40, Galax) — would seek to reestablish our rights as citizens to pray at public government meetings, a longstanding tradition that the secular left has sought to stop, successfully in many cases, throughout Virginia.

Of course, one major threat to the freedom of all Americans is the federal government's mandate that citizens fund the birth control of others through President Obama's health insurance scheme, a mandate that is currently being challenged in nearly 30 lawsuits across the nation. While the secular left and abortion industry call this mandate about "access" to birth control, the truth is that it requires a redefinition of the word "access" to mean "paid for by somebody else at the expense of their freedom of conscience."

"The Constitution Is The 'How' Of America. The Declaration Of Independence Is The 'Why' Of America."

Take a one-and-a-half-minute course in the importance of Faith in governance. The lecture is by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. It's pretty easy, really. If you don't believe your rights come from God, but rather from government, then those rights can be taken away at any moment — and there is no religious liberty as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence. As Mr. Santorum so aptly describes the two, the constitution is the "how of America," our owner's manual, the way we operate (or are supposed to operate) the country; but the "why of America," the reason we exist, the statement of our principles, is in the Declaration of Independence.

 

Former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate Rick Santorum succinctly explains the important and necessary role of faith in our governing institutions. His grasp of the moral issues facing America, their connection to all other issues, and his prophetic alarm make him a beacon of truth in the modern public square.

Perhaps no one in America better articulates than Rick Santorum the necessary and fundamental correlation between faith, religious freedom, the maintenance of the traditional family and how we govern ourselves, and the impact all of that makes on society at large. To hear more from him, to hear him at his best — that is, in person — see him for yourself this Saturday at The Family Foundation Gala. Tickets are still available, but going fast. For more information, or to order, click here, call 804-343-0010 or e-mail gala@familyfoundation.org.

Time And Money

During the recently completed session of the General Assembly, we heard a lot of complaints about the emphasis on certain types of bills — "social issues" — and how they were sucking the oxygen out of "the issues that matter," even though "social issues" were less than 2 percent of bills that were introduced in the House. Combined with the Senate, that percentage probably dropped to less than 1 percent. Pro-life bills were less than .2 percent. Of course, none of that includes "social issues" brought up by the left, such as the bizarre introduction in the Senate (for the second consecutive session) of the long-deceased, so-called "Equal Rights Amendment" for ratification the U.S. Constitution (SJ 130, which actually passed that radically right-wing chamber 24-15, before "wasting" the House's time, where it died, again). Of course, the session really isn't "completed." Technically, it is, because the members agreed to adjourn. It adjourned only to go into special session later this month because the budget ("The most important thing we do," according to General Assembly liberals) wasn't adopted. In the Senate, it was hardly even started. Talk about "wasting time and money" as the liberals in the capitol, mainstream media, and The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live (the new sources of information for the intellectual elite) told us we were doing in debating "social issues" — anyone cost out a special session of the General Assembly? How about the time? It will already be at least two weeks late before a budget is adopted, and "social issues" have nothing to do with the delay since bills beside the budget are done on a totally separate track. The "most important thing we do," "wasting time and money," "work on the issues that matter". ...

So, who's wasting "time and money"? Here's a web ad from the Republican Party of Virginia that shows there are, at least, some sane voices from across political spectrum who understand who really is obstructing, who really is wasting "time and money."

Are you serious? The ERA and no budget?  Some sane voices, even on the left, recognize the folly: In an unprecedented inaction, Senate Democrats blocked approval of the Senate budget and two versions of a House budget, not even getting to the necessary conference committee process. 

Is Public Prayer Unconstitutional?

As if the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals isn't busy enough this week. Not only will it decide on ObamaCare, it got the above question, too, in a case in which The Family Foundation filed an amicus brief last year. Now asked, another three judge panel will decide the constitutionality of the prayer policy of the Forsyth County, N.C. — but with national implications. The policy, drafted by the Alliance Defense Fund, allows for anyone of any faith to pray before county government meetings on a first come, first serve basis. The content of the prayers are not reviewed by government officials. Plaintiffs represented by the ACLU contend that, because most of the "prayers" at the meetings over an eighteen month period were "sectarian," the policy is unconstitutional. According to ADF attorneys, plaintiffs have argued in briefs that any prayer before public meetings is unconstitutional.

Judges Harvie Wilkinson, Paul Niemeyer and Barbara Keenan comprise the panel. If their questioning of attorneys arguing the case is any indication of where they stand on the issue, Judge Keenan is clearly in the ACLU camp. Appointed to the court by President Obama, she was particularly hostile toward ADF's arguments and clearly favored the idea of "inclusive" prayers if there were going to be any prayers at all. Judge Niemeyer appeared much more favorable toward public prayer, stating that prayers without mentioning a specific deity are "just words." Judge Wilkinson seemed like the swing vote, questioning both sides on multiple issues throughout the hour and ten minute hearing.

The details of this case date back to March 2007 when the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed suit against North Carolina's Forsyth County Board of Supervisors, stating:

[the Board] does not have a policy which discourages or prohibits those whom [the Board] has invited to deliver prayers from including references to Jesus Christ, or any other sectarian deity, as part of their prayers.

As ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson, who argued in favor of the policy, aptly pointed out, "An invocation according to the dictates of the giver's conscience is not an establishment of religion. If it was, you'd have to argue that the drafters of the U.S. Constitution were violating the Constitution in the prayers and invocations that they themselves offered." (Mike Johnson testified, at Family Foundation request during the 2009 General Assembly, on behalf of the rights of state police chaplains to pray in Jesus' name. See video.)

A primary issue in the case is whether or not a voluntary prayer before a government meeting is "government" or private speech. If private, it is clearly protected by the First Amendment. But by the ACLU's logic, anything said at a government meeting by a private individual is government speech just by virtue of saying at that meeting.

Several Virginia legislators also signed on to an amicus brief in support of religious liberty in Joyner v. Forsyth County. They include Delegates Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg), Bill Carrico (R-5, Galax), Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), and Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown); and Senators Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) and Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-27, Winchester).

Senate Property Rights Vote Delayed; Contact Your Senator If You Already Haven't!

I was hoping to write about a smashing, never-in-a-million-years-possible victory on property rights protection tonight; about  how we were one step closer to enshrinement that fundamental right into the Virginia Constitution. However, the Senate delayed the vote on HJ 693 (Delegate Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth) until tomorrow. This one day delay gives you another chance to contact your senator, if you have not already done so, and ask him or her to vote to ensure this basic, fundamental right: To own property — for family, business or farm, or any legal reason — and not fear the government's power of eminent domain, where it can take it and hand it over to a corporation because it can produce more tax revenue than your house or business. The right to own property, and be justly compensated for it if a true public need requires a government taking, is a requisite tool to preserve individual liberty and curb the growth and intrusiveness of government. It also is a matter of basic fairness: Some localities in the past have taken entire neighborhoods on the pretext that one or two houses were "blighted" and sold to developers for huge amounts of money.

We strongly urge you to contact your senator now. It will be a close, but winnable vote. This is historic — the Virginia Senate has not taken up such a measure in recent memory. People who believe that government has become too big in size and scope now must take only a few moments to click below and make their voices heard to their elected representatives. This is our moment. If this vote fails, we will have to wait at least three more years for the opportunity to vote at the ballot box for a state constitutional amendment to guarantee this precious and God-given right.

We cannot let this opportunity to get meaningful protections fail. For the longest time the Virginia Senate has been a roadblock, but tonight we are on the doorstep of a historic victory. Securing private property rights ensures stable families, jobs, farms and even the right to worship freely. Let's beat back the special interests and local governments once and for all and ask your senator to represent you, not government.

Politicians come and go. The courts are unpredictable. The only permanent protections of our rights are those in the Virginia and U.S. Constitutions. Please act to ensure them now.

Contact your senator by e-mail.

Contact your senator by phone.

Learn who your senator is.

Quote Of The Day: Defining (And Repealing) Washington, D.C.

This morning the House Privileges and Elections Committee voted to report the Repeal Amendment (HJ 542) to the floor by a vote of 15-7. All 14 Republicans were joined by one Democrat, Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth). The resolution is patroned by Delegate James LeMunyon (R-67, Chantilly) and is heavily supported by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg), did not go through sub-committee. It was the only legislation heard in the committee and discussion lasted more than an hour — some of it enlightening and, inevitably, some very disappointing, including opponents' injection of race into the debate. While opposition lawmakers tried to raise incendiary, irrelevant and inconsistent points, committee proponents and a plethora of witnesses (including The Family Foundationunderlined the necessity of rebalancing power with Washington, D.C., and the necessary re-establishment of our founding system of federalism. That's where we get our Quote of the Day, from Delegate Bill Janis (R-56, Henrico).

Responding to Delegate Mark Sickles' (D-43, Fairfax) contention that while Washington, D.C., doesn't do things efficiently, much less perfectly, it eventually gets it right, Delegate Janis replied, in part:

Washington, D.C., is 100 acres of fantasy land surrounded by reality.  

The Repeal Amendment should be on the House floor early next week. If passed, it will go to the Senate where a version there was defeated earlier this week. The amendment, if approved by three-fourths of the states, would authorize a constitutional convention to adopt the Repeal Amendment into the U.S. Constitution. The Repeal Amendment would, with two-thirds of the states concurring, repeal any federal law or regulation in U.S. Code.

Exceeding Commerce Clause Powers

Although it is the first of many court decisions he faces, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli this week became the first person to successfully challenge President Obama's federal health insurance scheme. U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson ruled a key component of the plan — the "individual mandate" — unconstitutional. In his opinion, Judge Hudson concluded:

Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter a stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I.

He added that the individual mandate "is neither within the letter nor the spirit of the U.S. Constitution." That letter meaning this: "Regulate" during the days of the constitution's adoption meant, "to make regular." Far from taking over entire industries, the federal government instead was to ensure that states didn't discriminate against businesses from one state to the advantage of one from another.

The Obama administration argued that the constitution's Commerce Clause gives the government broad authority to order Americans to purchase health insurance because not doing so adversely affects commerce. Of course, this unprecedented attempt to force Americans to purchase a product was predicated on labeling inactivity (not buying insurance) "interstate commerce." Stranger than fiction, we know.

While the Obama administration will appeal Monday's decision to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Attorney General Cuccinelli would prefer an expedited appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was in talks with the Department of Justice about a joint motion to that affect, but it now appears DOJ wants no part of it (better to delay until more and more parts of the law go into affect). However, Mr. Cuccinelli told Fox New Channel's Greta Van Susteren Monday night he may go forward on that by himself and also may appeal Judge Hudson's refusal to place an injunction on the health care law (see video). He has 30 days from last Monday to make that appeal. Regardless of how or when, ultimately Obamacare's fate will be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

While there are dozens of reasons to oppose Obamacare (see Obamacare411), the provision that requires otherwise free Americans to purchase health insurance or face penalties is the most egregious — but it is also the financial linchpin of the entire law. Without the mandate, much of the rest of the law is untenable.

Earlier this year, The Family Foundation supported the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, the basis for the Commonwealth's lawsuit against the federal government. It protects Virginia citizens from being compelled to buy insurance against their will. We applaud the Attorney General and his staff for their commitment to protecting the freedom of Virginians. For a great perspective on the hearing and Judge Hudson's ruling, view Mr. Cuccinelli's post-decision news conference (click here). We are the only news or Internet site that recorded and posted the entire news conference.

Cuccinelli Schools Clueless Demagogue Chris Matthews

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Thursday night to discuss the proposed Repeal Amendment (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a mechanism that would allow two-thirds of the states to nullify a federal law or regulation (see Speaker Bill Howell's op-ed at Cato.org). Because A) he utterly disassembled Matthews, as he did Eliot "Client Number 9" Spitzer a couple of weeks ago on CNN, and B) because no one watches MSNBC, we thought we'd post the video for your entertainment. These things often are painful to watch. The liberal, in this case Matthews, either cannot grasp the issues and/or ignores them and makes, as the Attorney General accurately states, "assumptions" to suit his argument. In other words, the old leftist tactic of putting his negative words in your mouth and trying to force you to defend the absurd proposition. In this case, Matthews continue to ram the proposition that anyone who favors the repeal amendment was appealing to Johnny Reb and the redneck South. Nevermind that the U.S. Constitution was created by the states for the states, not to cede every element of life to a small band of federal government bureaucrats.

Never fear. Attorney General Cuccinelli would have nothing of it and, in the process, took apart and exposed the visibly disgusted Matthews — who plainly indicated his elitist belief that only Washington, D.C., can make good decisions — and revealed him as both of the above: clueless and a demagogue.

Update: The AG is saying tonight that the federal court ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare will be issued Monday. Stay tuned. If he has a news conference, we will be there to cover it.

Enjoy the video (9:05):

A little knowledge is dangerous, Chris. Perhaps a little preparation next time? Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli takes apart elitist Chris Matthews. 

Funeral For The U.S. Constitution

One of the lighter moments of the Virginia TEA Party Convention last weekend was Friday morning, when a group promoting a new 25-minute documentary by the National Republican Trust, a political action committee not affiliated with the Republican Party, staged a "funeral" for the U.S. Constitution and "Integrity." A re-enactor portraying Thomas Jefferson led a solemn processions inside the Greater Richmond Convention Center as well as on downtown Richmond streets, slowly ringing a bell, before stopping and eulogizing the late founding document and the integrity with which our representatives used to govern. It was well received by the TEA Partiers, many of whom stood and applauded at first sighting of the coffins, fully understanding the point before the speech. A flurry of photographers — media and spectators — snapped away. One gentleman even placed his hat over his heart! It was an early event at the convention — before it had even started — and an unofficial one at that, but the reactions of the crowd were telling. Far from an angry mob as the mainstream media portrays them, these are every day citizens with a deep love of country and, perhaps, a deeper concern for its current direction.

Is the Constitution dead? Or just sleeping, like Lazarus, waiting for a "great awakening" November 2?

Misunderstanding The Constitution And Poverty: A Real Connection

Today is the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, know as Constitution or Citizenship Day. Not surprisingly, polls are finding that a vast majority of Americans are woefully under-educated about the Constitution and its principles. One poll found two-thirds of Americans admit they don't have a clue what our nation’s foundational document says. This extraordinary failure of our education system is having a devastating impact on our society and culture. Not understanding the basic principles of our government, its duties and the restrictions our Founding Fathers placed on it, is at least partially responsible for the mess we now have in Washington, D.C. Blame the politicians, yes. But the fact remains that as long as Americans continue to vote for people like President Barack Obama, whose vision for our nation is thoroughly alien to that which our Founders created and to what the constitution actually states — as illustrated by his vast expansion of government — we are going to continue to get what we deserve.

One simple way to reconnect with our founding principles is to read the U.S. Constitution, which we highly encourage, especially on this anniversary day each year. Click here to read it if you haven't in a while. To see what one group is doing to improve constitutional literacy, and how you can help, click here.

Also on the front page of many newspapers today are reports that the poverty rate in the United States, to no one's surprise, has risen. Of course, most of the articles quote left-leaning politicians or think tanks that are quick to blame the government for not doing enough to take care of people in need. Unfortunately, because so many Americans don't know what our constitution says, or what our Founders meant by what it says, the message that "the government needs to do more" often finds support.

What the articles don't mention is that, according to the Heritage Foundation, "since the beginning of the War on Poverty, the U.S. has spent $15.9 trillion on means-tested welfare. And today, spending on welfare programs is 13 times greater than it was in 1964." Yet poverty continues to rise.

The articles choose to ignore the far more dramatic impact that family fragmentation and out-of-wedlock births have on poverty. For example, "children born to single mothers . . . are five times more likely to live in poverty than children born to married parents. Today, over 40 percent of children are born outside wedlock, and the numbers are particularly devastating for Hispanics (51.3 percent) and African-Americans (71.6 percent)." Marriage drops the probability of child poverty by an astonishing 82 percent.

We conservatives often are accused of focusing on "divisive" social issues such as marriage and abortion at the expense of "more important" issues like the economy and poverty. But it is, in fact, our concern about those in poverty that requires us to do more to promote and strengthen marriage. We can choose to continue down the route we've been following since 1964 and apply band-aid solutions after the fact, or we can do the hard work of providing the only long-range solution to poverty — stable marriages and families.

One Group's Mission: Improve Constitutional Literacy

Taking a page out of the 40 Days For Life playbook — by its own admission — WeReadThe Constitution.com, a project of Let Freedom Ring, is advancing the constitutional literacy of Americans one neighborhood, one community, one city and county at a time. The organization is promoting the reading of the U.S. Constitution in groups large and small, in public places and private homes, throughout the nation on September 18, the first Saturday after Constitution Day (September 17). Its Web page includes an interactive map which locates areas where such gatherings are taking place and for people to make known their own events. The idea is to increase its presence throughout the country each year on Constitution Day to encourage further understanding of the constitution and the limits on federal power it contains. In fact, just reading the constitution in one sitting — it takes about an hour, including all 27 amendments — makes it clear that the founding document was written to protect individual liberty by strictly limiting the authority of the national government. 

If We Read The Constitution can replicate the growth and effectiveness of what 40 Days For Life has had on the pro-life movement, where the numbers of people who silently pray in front of abortion centers for 40 days have grown exponentially over the last three years, the day will be soon when Americans will have a full understanding of the our blue print of self-governance. That, in turn, may finally lead to a Congress, courts and president that understand such limits.

Right now, there are 96 such events registered at WeReadTheConstitution.com, including six in Virginia: Alexandria, Arlington, Centreville, Gainesville, Locust Grove and Purcellville. That's a good start, but we wish there were more and encourage Virginians to, as we did in framing the constitution, and as we are in defending it now, to lead in a rebirth of its understanding. So, if at all interested, please get involved and organize an event. With the Internet and a week still to go, it doesn't take much to get one started — and an important movement rolling.

People interested in learning more or who want to get involved may, in addition to visiting its Web site, contact Peter Knickerbocker at 540-775-2332 or at peter@lfrusa.com for more information.

Lindsey "Call Me Billy" Graham Invokes Jesus To Vote To Confirm Kagan

It's bad enough when Nancy Pelosi bungles the Gospel into an incomprehensible defense of her disingenuous and destructive public policy and legislative pursuits. Anything to rationalize the righteousness of ramming through unconstitutional laws against the will of the people. But when U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) (see LifeNews.com) invokes Jesus' Golden Rule on the Senate floorto excuse his incomprehensible decision to vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, he not only ignores his constituents (see NewsMax.com), he shirks his responsibility to the U.S. Constitution by granting someone who doesn't believe in it as written the power to redefine America (see TheRightScoop.com). The irony of invoking Jesus to put on the Supreme Court someone who believes in partial birth abortion and who, by virtue of that position, will have a huge say in determining the legality of that infanticidal practice, is abominable. But listen closely. In untwisting his verbal pretzel, Senator Graham is really saying that we must treat Barack Obama as he would treat us. If that's true, then surely there was no reason to vote to confirm Ms. Kagan.

His bumbling foray into non-germane, nonsensical and impromptu theology is appalling and confounding. By contrast, his South Carolina colleague, Senator Jim Demint, voted against her confirmation (Miami Herald). The blowback from this, another in a long line of disappointments from the senator, is that a primary challenge in 2014 now is more likely, according to the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza at The Fix Blog. By the way, both of Virginia's senators, Jim Webb and Mark Warner, predictably, voted to confirm her.

Here's the video, but CSNNews.com has much more:

Senator cum preacher Lindsey "Call Me Billy" Graham on the Senate floor explaining how Jesus inspired him to vote to confirm Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court despite her disregard for constitutional principles.

Congressman Stark: The Federal Government Can Do Anything It Wants, New Rasmussen Poll Shows Americans Vehemently Disagree

U.S. Representative Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-Calif.) has been in Congress close to 40 years and is one of the most hardcore leftists in the House (see Michael Tennant at The New American). He also is known for outrageous and derogatory comments that, were he a conservative, rightly would hound him out of office (see Elisabeth Meinecke at Human Events). Last year, at a town hall meeting, he told a constituent that, "I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg." (See YouTube.) In June, he mocked those who want the federal government to do something it is supposed to do — secure the border — by asking, "Who are you going to kill today?" (See YouTube.) Those examples only scratch the surface. He's been known to yell at and threaten colleagues, as well. Suffice it to say, he's an arrogant bully, who does not care about anyone but himself, his radical left-wing idealogue colleagues and far left special interest power brokers.

Then, occasionally, he speaks the truth. At least the truth as he wants it. Which is instructive in that it reveals what the Leftist Ruling Class in Washington has in store, should they continue to go unchecked. You can hear for yourself what this senior member of the House thinks about unlimited federal power, an attitude likely to mean the far-left leadership of the House is likely to continue overreaching. It also demonstrates that there's only one way to curb this power — November is coming — as a new Rasmussen poll showed only 9 percent of Americans share Mr. Stark's view of American governance (see Ed Morrissey at HotAir.com). 

In the video below, from a town hall meeting two weeks ago, Congressman Stark dismissed a constituent's concern over the health care law's expansive reach into personal lives by telling her Congress is not limited by the U.S Constitution:

Congressman Stark: We have unlimited power to do whatever we want, except that which we are supposed to do.

But Mr. Stark isn't alone. According to the poll (see Rasmussen Reports), 54 percent of the political class align themselves with him (see Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog, here). Steve Watson of PrisonPlanet.com adds that the disconnect extends to the Health Care law, too, with 83 percent of the political class supporting it and 72 percent of voters opposing it.

Judge Walker Ignores People, Logic, Constitution To Advance Progressive Agenda In Prop 8 Decision

Wednesday, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, federal Judge Vaughn Walker declared California's Marriage Amendment ("Proposition 8") unconstitutional, ruling that the state must allow same-sex marriage (see opinion, here). But, apparently, Judge Walker saw  "marriage" in the U.S Constitution, even though it is nowhere to be found there, which most people understand to mean that it is an issue for each state to decide (i.e., the 10th Amendment). However, there is a stay on the ruling through today, so that opponents of the decision can appeal it to a higher court and ask for a stay until that appeal is ruled upon.  This deplorable decision has the potential to gut the definition of marriage as well as the integrity of the democratic process — a single, unelected federal judge, undoing the votes of more than seven million Californians who voted for this state constitutional amendment in 2008. That November, when California voters chose Barack Obama for president (who has stated he believes marriage is between one man and one woman, see interview with Jake Tapper of ABC News), they also passed Proposition 8 (52 to 48 percent) declaring marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Sadly, when special interest groups fail to win either in the legislature or on the ballot, they turn to the courts to overturn the will of the people. This is precisely what happened in California. In fact, according to Dan McLaughlin at RedState.com (please read for a detailed analysis of Judge Walker's flawed "reasoning"), even in a bad year for conservatives: 

49 percent of white voters, 58 percent of black voters, 59 percent of Latino voters, 49 percent of women, 54 percent of men, 53 percent of independents and 67 percent of voters over age 65 voted in favor Proposition 8.

Can't get more diverse than that. Ironic, huh?

An accurately defined democratic process should not allow for a handful of activists to overturn what a majority has conclusively and legally decided. Fortunately, yesterday's opinion is far from final. Pro-family advocates have immediate plans to appeal the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. There is a good chance that the case eventually will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his opinion, Judge Walker singularly waived off as irrelevant any "moral and religious views [that] form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples." Some have called into question Judge Walker's impartiality, as he is openly homosexual. Adding to the skepticism, Judge Walker will rule on today's request to place a stay on his own ruling.

In Virginia, the homosexual lobby has lost time and time again, both on the ballot and in the General Assembly. While this activist judge is redefining the centuries-old meaning of marriage, the people of Virginia have stated very plainly that they don't want anything like that to happen here.

Counterfeit forms of marriage cheapen and undermine real marriage. The union of a man and a woman in a committed marriage is the foundation of a stable society. Social science is clear that men, women and children benefit far more in a stable, traditional family. That makes traditional marriage and family far too important to society to experiment with to advance a political agenda. Especially when it's done by one man against the will of seven million people.

Virginia, Cuccinelli Win Round One Against ObamaCare!

As we were one of the first to report this morning, Virginia, through Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (see news release), and despite what almost every liberal pundit and legislator has prognosticated, won round one in his lawsuit against the constitutionality of the new federal health care takeover law. Federal District Court Judge Henry Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, in Richmond, ruled against the Department of Justice's motion to dismiss the case because Virginia, it alleged on several fronts, has no standing. Judge Hudson rejected those arguments and the case now will go to full trial, on October 18 in Richmond (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). In his 32-page ruling (see here) Judge Hudson wrote:

Although this lawsuit has the collateral effect of protecting the individual interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia, its primary articulated objective is to defend the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act from the conflicting effect of an allegedly unconstitutional federal law. Despite its declaratory nature, it is a lawfully-enacted part of the laws of Virginia. The purported transparent legislative intent underlying its enactment is irrelevant. The mere existence of the lawfully-enacted [Virginia] statute is sufficient to trigger the duty of the Attorney General of Virginia to defend the law and the associated sovereign power to enact it.

Ouch! Quite smackdown to the feds' several arguments as well as to left-wing pundits and activists who repeatedly said Attorney General Cuccinelli had no standing, no right, no business and no chance in filing this suit. Judge Hudson's opinion, boiled down, is exactly what the AG has said all along: That he took an oath to defend not only the U.S. Constitution, but the Virginia Constitution and the laws of the commonwealth. Judge Hudson also found that even though the federal insurance mandate doesn't take effect until 2014, the case is "ripe" because a conflict of state and federal laws is certain to occur. All are obvious reasons to proceed to trial to anyone with commonsense, regardless of political persuasion, except the hyper left.

At issue at the trial on October 18 is whether the federal government can order individuals to buy something (in this case, health insurance) in contradiction to Virginia law, the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act (see text). Then, it will be the AG on the offensive, asking for summary judgment. In the hearing to dismiss on July 1, the Department of Justice said it was not invoking the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as Congress itself said it was, but rather its taxing authority, which made for some pretty humorous and pretzel twisting arguments from the government's lawyers.

For what it's worth: At the conclusion of the hearing on the feds' motion to dismiss, Judge Hudson promised a decision by the last week of July. When it didn't come last week, it was widely expected to come this morning. We were notified of the ruling around 10:30. One tip that something was up was a promo last night on the Fox News Channel that the AG would be on On The Record with Greta Van Susteran (hear her commentary) tonight at 10:00. Odds are that it won't be the only show upon which he will appear.

In the meantime, we were the only media, new or old, to have Attorney General Cuccinelli's entire July 1 post-hearing news conference. To see it, and hear more of his legal reasoning behind the case, click here.  

As we said from the early days of this past General Assembly session, what Virginia was doing with the Health Care Freedom Act was historic. Today was another new chapter which, most likely, will have several more written.